All About Estates

Dr. Richard Shulman

Total 34 Posts Website
Dr. Shulman is a Geriatric Psychiatrist, and is the Service Medical Director for Seniors Mental Health Services at Trillium Health Partners (Mississauga Hospital, Credit Valley Hospital and Queensway Health Centre). He is available for independent medical-legal capacity assessments. He is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Email: Richard.Shulman@thp.ca

Homicide in Ontario LTC Homes

Readers in Ontario are likely familiar with Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, a former registered nurse, who confessed to murdering eight senior citizens and attempting to murder six others in southwestern Ontario long term care (LTC) homes between 2007 and 2016. Following her criminal conviction, the province of Ontario established a…

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What an Attorney for Personal Care Can Do

In Ontario, a power of attorney for personal care is defined in the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) and allows the appointed attorney to act as the substitute decision maker (SDM) for an incapable person. The appointed attorney is given the authority to make decisions such as: medical treatments, admission to…

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The Test for Capacity to Give Evidence and Special Accommodations

Section 16 of the Canada Evidence Act (“CEA”)[i] sets out the test for capacity to give evidence: 16(1) If a proposed witness is a person of fourteen years of age or older whose mental capacity is challenged, the court shall, before permitting the person to give evidence, conduct an inquiry…

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Some Thoughts on Explaining Differences in Expert Opinions

Experts giving evidence in an Ontario court are obliged to sign an acknowledgement that they are independent, with their obligation being to the court and not to the party who retained them. Nonetheless, scepticism regarding objectiveness and discrepancies between expert opinions remains, as demonstrated in the reasons of Justice Mesbur…

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Some Suggestions on Evaluating Undue Influence in the Court of Public Opinion

In recent weeks, Canadian politics has been rocked by the so-called “SNC-Lavalin Scandal.” One of the allegations has been whether former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould was pressured or unduly influenced by the Prime Minister’s Office to resolve the corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin in an effort to spare the…

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Lucid Intervals and Testamentary Capacity

As I understand, “lucid interval” is a legal doctrine that holds that testamentary capacity may exist at a moment in time even though the testator’s general state would be inconsistent with the conclusion that he possessed testamentary capacity.[i] The idea is that an individual who suffers from mental illness or…

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Year End Wishes for Changes to Care for Patients with Dementia

Health Quality Ontario, in collaboration with clinical experts, patients, residents, and caregivers across the province, is developing quality standards for care providers in Ontario. I participated in developing the quality standard: Behavioural Symptoms of Dementia: Care for Patients in Hospitals and Residents in Long-Term Care Homes. This quality standard focuses…

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Some Concerns about Proposing MAiD via Advanced Directives

Audrey Parker, a terminally ill woman living in Nova Scotia, ended her life with medical assistance earlier this month after issuing a final deathbed plea asking lawmakers to loosen some of the restrictions embedded in Canada’s assisted dying law.[i] Parker stressed that the law had to be changed because anyone…

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Statutory Guardianship of Property vs. a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property: They are not the same!

My June 2017 blog described that most seniors appoint a continuing power of attorney for property (CPOAP), partly to avoid having the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPG&T) assume the role of statutory guardian of property under the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) or the Mental Health Act (MHA)…

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Is it Improper for Counsel to Assist an Expert Witness in the Preparation of the Expert’s Report?

Expert evidence constitutes an exception to the rule that witnesses may only testify as to facts, not opinions, and that it is the exclusive prerogative of the trier of fact to draw inferences from proven facts. The expert evidence exception operates where specialized knowledge is required to determine the implications…

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